The controversial Paradise Valley development proposal had a close call with the District of Squamish’s chopping block this week.
After five years at the table, a staff report to council on Tuesday (July 24), recommended council defeat final approval for the Paradise Trails development. But when the meeting got underway, Mayor Rob Kirkham announced a decision on fourth reading was being deferred to a September council meeting at the request of the proponent.
The proponent, Tri City Group president Michael Goodman, said in a statement that he was “very disappointed” that district staff had recommended that fourth reading be denied. The land is currently zoned for rural residential use and needs to be rezoned to allow for the comprehensive development project to go ahead.
The staff report failed to acknowledge that the proponent has met all the district’s conditions at a cost exceeding $1.5 million, he said. Goodman has requested that this be included in writing in the report.
“The report rehashed old issues that council dealt with in 2008 at third reading and our public hearing,” Goodman stated.
Third reading for the development of up to 82 estate lots and an equestrian centre at the north end of the Paradise Valley was passed the public hearing in October 2008, Goodman said.
“In fact, five of the seven councillors were in favour of the project,” he stated. “We were sent on our way with the conditions and told to meet them.”
It’s customary for developments that reach fourth reading to receive it, Goodman stated.
“This type of treatment flies in the face of Squamish’s message about turning a new leaf with developers on improving service and following due process,” he stated.
The property is prone to flooding, holds a high wildfire risk and has a single access point, the development services report to council states. Despite staff’s repeated and strong recommendations to not move the project forward, in 2008 third reading was approved, the report noted.
The development requires its own water and sewage treatment facilities, which would be managed by the developer/strata. That poses district budget implications, as the district could be lobbied by the project’s tenants to provide future infrastructure, the report noted, adding that roads, dikes and solid waste services will have to service the area.
The proponent promised the district a contribution toward the municipality’s Mixed Income Housing Program, a youth equestrian grant, an auto-dialler and river gauge system on the Cheakamus River and cash for improvements to the Paradise Valley.
Last year, Goodman launched a public campaign stating the district had “a history of halting developments at this late stage despite the developers having expended considerable resources in the process” and that “such uncertainty and long-term economic damage caused by the history of the district cannot be underestimated.”